So let me talk to the authors and aspiring creatives for a moment. Like you, I suffer with author ‘imposter syndrome’ and other toxic self-defeating behaviors. Many authors do. That’s why I cheer when Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi murder your author myths. They’ve already been through the meatgrinder, giving them the requisite insight to destroy that toxicity. Kudos to both of them for sharing the wealth and keeping us encouraged.
Today’s toxic myth? For authors, there’s a common belief that: ‘You aren’t a real writer until you write x,xxx words a day.‘ People flex their daily word count like a gym rat’s bicep. Maybe that works for some people, but I find it distracting. Creative expression isn’t a competition sport. In fact, people use it to dilute whatever success or progress you’re making – even after you hit the big time. Check out the picture below to see what I’m talking about (click for big size):
So much to take from these two tweets, let’s put 60 seconds on the clock:
1. OMG, who cares if you write for four hours or eight??
2. Why are you taking Scalzi’s success so personally? Who hurt you?
3. Successful authors : nerds == pro ball players : athletic urban kids. This is our way out, don’t crush it.
4. Trolls gonna troll
5. What’s the point of writing two thousands words a day if no one reads them?
All creatives face a certain level of gatekeeping, rabbit holes, and dead ends that they must be careful to avoid. There are a million ways to be waste your time, be discouraged, or get distracted. I mean, let’s face it: this is nothing new. Think about all the theater kids who go to Hollywood and spend years in the Groundlings but never get booked on a show. What about all those conventions where you pay to pitch your story idea and come away with nothing but a $500 hole in your wallet?
Here’s the lesson: Arguing with haters is a dead end. Your time is too valuable for that. Write your story, be yourself, let the work speak for you. Let Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi murder your author myths while you stay focused.
Enough talk, back to work. 16K words into this draft of Cinderellavator. Have a great Thursday!